Sulfated alumina nanoparticles (n-AlS) have been prepared as a high-surface-area support/activator for organozirconium catalysts. The large external surface area allows chemisorption of ca. 3 times more organozirconium catalyst per square nanometer than previously possible on bulk sulfated alumina. It is found that Cp*ZrMe2/n-AlS (Cp* = η5-(CH3)5C5, Me = CH 3) and ZrBz3/n-AlS (Bz = CH2C6H 5) are active catalysts for arene hydrogenation as well as for olefin polymerizations. The less sterically encumbered ZrBz3/n-AlS exhibits higher polymerization activity and a greater arene hydrogenation turnover frequency than the slightly more encumbered Cp*ZrMe2/n-AlS. Catalyst ZrBz3/n-AlS also displays a larger tolerance for sterically demanding hydrogenation substrates as well as increased 1-hexene incorporation in ethylene/1-hexene copolymerizations.
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